And each species of fur baby comes with its own needs.
One of the quirkier breeds is the Bengal cat.
If you’re considering a Bengal cat as your new fur baby, here are few things you need to know before taking the leap into getting one of your own.
Bengal cat ancestry
Bengal cats are the result of mating a domestic cat with an Asian Leopard cat. These small, wild cats are native to many parts of Asia.
They are similar in size to domestic cats, but possess some of the same behaviors as big cats.
It wasn’t until more recently that these feline hybrids were allowed into all fifty states.
Even now, if you would import one from a foreign country, they’re subject to the USFW regulations (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).
Bengal cats have been bred successfully since the 1960s.
In any type of breeding, the first offspring from a mating of two closely related species is called filial 1, or F1.
Typically when buying a Bengal cat, you should look for a 4G (fourth generation).
It’s believed that this generation has an easier temperament for the average owner than its earlier relatives.
One of the most striking and beautiful things about a Bengal cat is its fur.
It’s also said that it’s softer and silkier to the touch than a domestic cat.
Colors and markings
Your kitten’s fur color can range from brown to snow, with variations in between.
Within each of those, there is a myriad of colors and patterns.
There are two main types of markings you’ll find: spotted (or rosetted) and marbled.
Marbled means more of a striped pattern, while rosetted may show more donut-shaped markings.
Some generations get the “glitter gene“, too, which gives a sparkle or shine to the cat’s fur.
Eye color is another trait that varies from cat to cat, generation to generation.
From ice blue to brilliant green, each Bengal cat’s eyes are unique.
Some generations may even be bred for a particular eye color.
What you should know
Adding any sort of pet to your household is a commitment that can span decades.
If you’re considering a Bengal cat as your new family member, there are a few things to know first.
They require attention and time
A Bengal cat isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of cat.
If you’re looking for a cat that will just hang out on the couch for hours, a Bengal might not be the best choice.
They are very intelligent and curious and can get bored easily.
Their wild ancestry can also show itself in their size. If you think your tiny Bengal kitten is hard on your stuff, wait until he or she is twenty pounds.
Twenty pounds of intelligent, curious destruction.
You’ll need to spend time with your Bengal, so plan ahead.
(And of course you’ll want to because they’re smart and fun!)
A good way to divert some of that energy is cat agility training. Yes, you read that correctly. Agility training isn’t just for border collies, anymore.
Other pets in the house
Already having other pets in the house, especially another cat, can be making bringing a Bengal cat home more difficult.
If your other pet is a dog, your new kitty may make friends more quickly, though.
Get two at the same time
If you don’t have other pets, you should consider getting two Bengals at the same time.
Breeders may have sibling pairs that will make that choice easy.
What’s better than a built-in playmate to help keep everyone from chewing the arms off of your sofa?
8 things every Bengal cat owner knows (and loves) about their fur baby
Bengal cats are possibly smarter than some humans
People attribute many different characteristics to cats. Arrogant, aloof, stand-offish, temperamental.
Another trait is intelligent.
Bengal cats are said to be one of the smartest cat breeds. But unlike some of their domestic counterparts, they are also very personable and sociable.
You might also find that your Bengal bonds to one particular person in the household.
1.Cat or dog? What did I get again?
While Bengal cats are most certainly felines, their personalities are a bit different.
They’ve been known to play games like fetch. They can even be harness and leash trained if you’d like to take them outside.
And as we mentioned earlier, they sometimes get along with dogs better than other cats.
2.Water, water everywhere…and it’s all mine
Most cats have a severe dislike of water.
Oddly enough, Bengal cats are the opposite. They love all sorts of water, from running faucets to showers to toilets.
Some have even been known to figure out how to flush the toilet, just to watch the swirling water.
Plus, the obvious source of water: splashing in your fish tank, much to the dismay of your fish!
Their water bowls can also be more like wading pools, too. Some of them can eventually use their paws to drink, rather than lapping up the water like other cats.
Putting their food and water bowls on tile or linoleum makes cleanup easier.
3.What is this privacy thing other people speak of?
Almost like a dog, your Bengal cat will also follow you around.
Sometimes, very, very closely. As in, right behind you.
And if you think closing the door is an option, you might need to rethink that. Either kitty will just follow you right in, or they’ll figure out how to get that door open. Bengals are curious and very good at figuring out how to open doors or drawers.
Or, they’ll sit outside and yell at you until you come out.
Like small children, your furry friend may watch you shower or brush your teeth.
Maybe at least they won’t ask you why, why, why? Or will they…
While many cats can be vocal, your Bengal cat may be especially talkative.
Unlike some people, they’ll never give you the silent treatment! Having a conversation with your furry friend is normal, and can be seriously entertaining.
You might even be occasionally serenaded by your feline companion.
5.They’re still a bit wild
Even if you get an F4, F5, or F6 Bengal cat, they still have wild cat genetics.
This may exhibit itself in quirky or odd behaviors (as mentioned above with water). Some will bite things if they become bored (though not their humans).
That means your sofa, pillows, blankets, shoes are all fair game.
Remember that dog-like thing we mentioned earlier? Here’s where you might see that the most, as your favorite socks become a chew toy.
Having a good selection of kitty-only toys is essential. Plus, make sure you’re changing them out periodically.
Getting bored applies to even their own toys, too.
6.There’s a master thief in your home
You know you put that hair tie right here. On the counter. Five minutes ago.
And, it’s gone.
Now, insert whatever other small items that are around into that sentence instead. Welcome to life with a furry master thief, a.k.a., your new Bengal cat.
Not only do things go missing, they often don’t turn up again, or at least not when you want them. You may even find it’s easier to just buy a new one (and put it in the drawer this time).
Height is usually not an issue either if there’s something new or shiny to be explored.
Your Bengal will be an excellent climber and jumper, maybe even more than other cats.
Make sure things are securely attached or fastened down to prevent accidents.
7.It’s opposite day, all the time
If you thought that the thing you left on the counter should stay there, think again.
You’ll likely find it on the floor instead. Or in the sink. Or under the couch.
And see the earlier point about your kitty klepto – you might not find it at all.
Oh, you closed that door?
That’s nice, unless your Bengal cat wants it open again. Because he or she will find a way to manage it.
And if you open it, before you close it again, you should check for stowaways.
Just because you only had your back turned for a second doesn’t mean they didn’t sneak in.
We’ve all heard of the Bat Cave, but did you know there are Cat Caves, too? Pretty much any space is fair game for your kitty to get into.
- Empty boxes
- The dryer
- Cabinets of all shapes and sizes
8.Protein for dinner, please
Cats are carnivores: not vegetarians, or even omnivores. They need meat.
Many commercial cat foods have fillers like corn and rice.
Your Bengal cat will be much healthier and happier with a protein-rich diet. You want your furry family member with you forever, so make sure you’re feeding them the proper diet.
Make sure you know what your cat shouldn’t eat, too.
When you’re ready
There are two ways to get your new Bengal cat, i.e. fur baby. You can choose:
- Buying from a breeder
Make sure you’re working with a respectable breeder if that’s the path you choose.
This post is also available in: Français (French)